A Visual Guide to Common Outdoor Knife Shape

Every man needs a good knife. Whether your camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, or doing anything from open packages to cooking, a good knife is crucial.

I'm sure you have found yourself in predicaments where you wished you had a good knife but didn't. Heck, we all have.

So, here is your comprehensive visual guide to common outdoor knife shapes to help you pick out which type best fits your lifestyle!


common outdoor knife shapes, clip point, drop point, sheepsfoot, skinner, wharncliffe, caping, spey point, pen knife, tanto, parts of a knife

There you go. Now you're ready to pick out which blade shape and style best fits your daily activities or hobbies.

Looking for something tactical or military grade? Go with a Tanto style blade shape.

Looking for something less intense to get you started and meet daily cutting needs? Check out the Pen shape found in your basic pocket knives.

Big into hunting and fishing? We recommend the Skinner or Drop Point, or even the Spey Point or Caping blade for certain small game.

Thanks for tuning in, and we hope this guide helped you pick out your first blade, or informed you of a new one to try!

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Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.


  • Reply January 12, 2015


    Learned some new words today…

  • Reply January 12, 2015


    excellent and manly post. First time i comment here, this one deserves comments.

  • […] 5 A Visual Guide to Common Outdoor Knives – Primer […]

  • Reply January 13, 2015

    BFE Labs

    Small point:
    Most knives, both factory and handmade, feature a compound bevel REGARDLESS of their primary grind.
    This present a Flat Grind with a compound bevel (or “Secondary Bevel”/Edge Bevel) as being a separate category of blade grind, and it is not really. Flat, hollow, and convex ground knives are all routinely made with a secondary edge. This is the most common sharpening style for edged tools in modern tool making, and is done on blades with all types of grind (or, Primary Bevel).

  • Reply January 14, 2015


    I’m always slightly affraid this kind of posts call men to keep knifes on themselves to show their masculine nature. But is good to know something new about knives and to be informed before acquiring one. I agree with @Stillz, i learned some new words today

  • Reply January 26, 2015

    Caesar Merlin

    any tips on preferred methods to sharpen hollow ground blades? I heard some good things about the spyderco sharpmaker system

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